July 2014's Best YA Books: 9 Summer Reads for the YA Fanatic
Summer doesn't always tend to be a major release period for new literature, but apparently no one told the YA publishers. July is full of exciting new titles by both new names and some of our favorites. So if you're planning a summer vacation and need a book for the plane or the beach, you have a lot to look forward to.
From historical fiction to fantasy to horror to romance and even one book based-on-a-true-story, July has something for all YA-lovers. Do you follow all pop culture related to the Salem Witch trials? Circle July 1 on your calendar. Are you looking to delve into a new fantasy-based series? Check out the debut book of the new Remnant Chronicles. Can't let go of characters you already love? Maggie Stiefvater has a little something for you. Maybe you're more of a horror movie queen. Disney, of all publishers, is looking to haunt your nightmares.
And I'm sure many of you have reserved a slot in your bookshelf for anything Rainbow Rowell releases.
Though there are dozens of great middle grade and young adult lit coming this month, we've narrowed it down to 9 intriguing, exciting upcoming titles that you need to know about, in no particular order.
1. Conversion by Katherine Howe (Putnam Juvenile; July 1)
Katherine Howe takes the well-trod events of the Salem Witch Trials and adds a contemporary twist — based on another true story of teenage girls suffering bouts of hysteria in Le Roy, New York, changed to Danvers, Mass. for the story, just two years ago. The book is supposed to be a slow burn (no terrible pun intended), while readers try to figure out what is causing the illness, so similar to that of the girls in Salem during the witch trials, and whether it might be all made up after all.
2. Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic; July 1)
Maggie Stiefvater's spin off of her Shiver trilogy had 200 fans excitedly lining up at BookExpo America this month to grab a galley. After the events in the trilogy Cole and Isabel reunite in Los Angeles where, according to Stiefvater, they "learn to be grown-ups." But what all the fans are looking out for is the love story, and Kirkus says it delivers, calling it "a spectacularly messy, emotionally oh-so-human romance."
(You can read the first three chapters now!)
3. The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno (HarperTeen; July 8)
In a plot reminiscent of Christopher Nolan's Memento, the mystery of Molly Pierce is explored in reverse. Seventeen-year-old Molly can't remember bits and pieces of her life, as if she has been missing time. But it isn't until she witnesses an accident, and the victim acts like her knows her, that Molly begins to unravel the truth about herself.
4. The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson (HarperTeen; July 1)
Jodi Lynn Anderson tore through the YA world in 2012 with Tiger Lily, a contemporary retelling of the classic Peter Pan story. And she's back this July with The Vanishing Season, a haunting story about the disappearance of teen girls in the town of Gill Creek. And according to advanced reviews, you'll be able to add it to the list of recent YA novels with totally chilling surprise endings.
5. Landline by Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin's Press; July 8)
Okay, Landline is a bit of a cheat, because it it technically in the Adult category, but I think it's safe to say that all YA-lovers are deeply invested in what Rainbow Rowell is up to. Landline focuses on a marriage in crisis, but don't worry; Rowell still imbues the feeling of falling in love for the first time, only adding it to what that means for people who are already in love with each other.
6. Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Disney Hyperion; July 22)
"Stephen King would love it," says Kirkus of Laurie Faria Stolarz's Welcome to the Dark House. What more do you have to say than that? When a group of teenagers enter a contest to meet their favorite horror movie director, offering up descriptions of their worst nightmares, they end up living a horror movie themselves.
7. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (Henry Holt and Co.; July 8)
For those looking for a new series to latch on to, buzz is showing that The Kiss of Deception, the first book in the new The Remnant Chronicles series would be a great bet. Princess Lia, doomed to an arranged marriage runs away to the coast to live life as an anonymous civilian in an inn. However, when she meets two handsome men, only the readers know that they are the prince she abandoned and an assassin hired to kill her. But what makes Pearson's fantasy tale even more unique is that she includes passages from sacred texts and traditional folk songs.
8. Copper Magic by Julia Mary Gibson (Starscape; July 1)
Julia Mary Gibson's debut middle grade novel is steeped in Native American history, culture, and conservationism, with a hint of enchantment in its realism. Twelve-year-old Violet Blake is an imperfect heroine and a self-proclaimed liar. But then she finds a hand made of copper that Violet believes can grant wishes (and readers can decide for themselves), and she finds that her behavior will have a ripple effect across the community.
8. Like No Other by Una LaMarche (Razorbill; July 24)
Fans of Eleanor and Park and Hazel and Gus, among all the other favorite YA couples, should get to know Brooklyn teenagers Devorah and Jaxon, the former who grew up devoutly Hasidic and the latter the son of West Indian immigrants. They meet one night stuck in a hospital elevator, and I bet you can guess where it goes from there.
9. Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Little, Brown; July 22)
The gothic Marina is already a cult classic en español in Carols Ruiz Zafón's native Spain, but it's being bestowed upon American audiences this July. It's essentially impossible to improve upon the back cover copy of the novel itself, so check it out:
In May 1980, fifteen-year-old Oscar Drai suddenly vanishes from his boarding school in the old quarter of Barcelona. For seven days and nights no one knows his whereabouts. . . .His story begins in the heart of old Barcelona, when he meets Marina and her father Germán Blau, a portrait painter. Marina takes Oscar to a cemetery to watch a macabre ritual that occurs on the fourth Sunday of each month. At 10 a.m. precisely a coach pulled by black horses appears. From it descends a woman dressed in black, her face shrouded, wearing gloves, holding a single rose. She walks over to a gravestone that bears no name, only the mysterious emblem of a black butterfly with open wings.When Oscar and Marina decide to follow her they begin a journey that will take them to the heights of a forgotten, post-war Barcelona, a world of aristocrats and actresses, inventors and tycoons; and a dark secret that lies waiting in the mysterious labyrinth beneath the city streets.